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The UK government says the NHS and the price it pays for medicines will not be on the table in trade negotiations with the US. However, I fear that the government`s pressing desire for some kind of deal will lead to an agreement designed for the benefit of the big corporations behind the U.S. health care industry. Free Trade Agreements (SAAs) appear to be one million miles away from the NHS. Although previously free trade agreements have mainly focused on trade in goods, they increasingly cover services (sometimes defined as “anything you can`t let go of”) and may include public services such as the NHS. I understand your concerns about that. I am not fundamentally opposed to free trade agreements, including a trade agreement with the United States. These exceptions, it is said, should be “on a negative list basis”, where all services are included, unless they are expressly excluded. In addition, the U.S. says it will try to ensure that drug price regulation “provides full market access for U.S.

products.” Thank you to everyone who has contacted me recently about trade agreements and the NHS. At present, there are serious concerns about a possible agreement between Britain and the United States. Despite occasional (and contradictory) assurances from Donald Trump that “the NHS is not on the table”, it would appear that the US wants a deal that allows better access to the NHS. Companies based in the US and US already participate to some extent in the provision of NHS services. What a trade deal with the US would do if US negotiators succeed is to impose certain conditions on the UK regarding the treatment of these companies and access to the NHS “market”. For example, at the moment, the NHS`s large-scale buying power makes it possible to negotiate and reduce the price of medicines, which helps to keep the NHS financially viable. However, the United States views this price control as a barrier to trade and unfair to its pharmaceutical companies, which insist that prices be significantly higher. Originally, the British government “shook up” or copied many of the EU`s existing trade agreements with other countries. The UK is also negotiating substantial new deals – for example with the US, Australia and the EU – and says it wants to replicate EU trade agreements “as much as possible”. International Commerce Secretary Greg Hands has vowed to protect the NHS from US attempts to force the service to pay more for prescription medicines. . .


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